Poetry and Lyrics of Jay Semko, The
Wood Dragon Books / 25 March 2022

The Poetry & Lyrics of Jay Semkoby Jay SemkoPublished by Wood Dragon BooksReview by Shelley A. Leedahl$19.99 ISBN 9-781989-078631 “She ain’t pretty she just looks that way.” If you’re a Canadian of a certain age, there’s a good chance you’ll recognize that lyric from the song “She Ain’t Pretty” by The Northern Pikes, a Saskatchewan-based band that rose to popularity in the 1980s and still records. The Pikes’ bassist and a vocalist, Jay Semko, also penned many of the band’s songs, and now he’s released a book that’s “a mixture of song lyrics and ‘stand alone’ poems written over a 25-year period”. The Poetry & Lyrics of Jay Semko begins with the artist’s abbreviated autobiography. Jay Semko was bullied as a grade-accelerated child in rural Saskatchewan; became passionate about learning guitar and writing songs in his teens; and enjoyed career success both with The Northern Pikes and as a solo artist (ten albums plus music composition for film and television). We also meet the Jay Semko who is “a recovering addict … living with Bipolar Disorder”. Sharing his experience “helps [him] immensely, and is crucial to [his] own personal recovery”. “Write what you know” is a common literary adage and…